August 26, 2005

What would you have done?

Let’s say that you were driving home. On a backstreet, you are stopped by a school bus dropping off 12-14 year old kids from school. Shortly after the bus leaves you, witness two kids get into a fight. One kid is about twice the size of the other kid. This might be a serious issue if either knew how to fight, but most of the kicks and punches are hitting air instead of the other person. When they do land a blow it’s not a solid hit so no real impact. The bus is gone; would you step in and break it up and why?

This exact scenario happened to me last night. I was waiting at the bus stop for Boopie to give him a ride home. As soon as I went to drive off, I saw these two boys off Boopie’s bus throw down their books in the middle of the road and start fighting. I put my vehicle in park, jump out of the door and head toward the boys. In my “I’m a pissed off authority figure voice” (Left over from Law Enforcement days) I holler: “You two, knock it off! Over here, NOW!” While saying that I’m pointing at both of them and then point to the ground right in front of me as I am walking toward them. Not once through this whole ordeal did I lay a finger on either boy.

Both of the boys stop fighting and start heading my way. They give me the story they where just play fighting. Any male out there that was ever in a fight as a kid can tell the difference between play fighting and real fighting. Play fighting you don’t swing so hard as to throw yourself off balance, because you don’t know how to fight. I’m trying to get both kids to come with me to talk to their parents.

The older kid points to a house just across the street. So I tell him, lets go talk to his parents. Then he changes which house he lives in. Apparently, he didn’t think I was serious. The younger kid told me he lived a couple of blocks over.

I knew there was no way to get both kids to stay with me, even though I tried. Deciding that I was going to talk to the bigger kids parents for a couple of reasons, I follow him to his house. I believe that the smaller kid’s mother works with me and I can talk to her at work. Also he seemed scared witless and I think I did enough damage that one close call may be all he needs to go straight. The bigger kid coped an attitude and was blatantly lying to me. He also appeared to be the instigator. His parents needed to be advised.

Sure enough as soon as I started walking off with the older boy, the younger one took off. Ktreva saw which way he ran, we tried looking for him later but couldn’t find him.

On the way to the bigger kid’s house, the story changed from play fighting to him defending his country. Apparently, the boy’s parents are from Russia and the younger kid made some disparaging comments about it. Now I have confirmation that it was not play fighting. When we get to his house, he goes in while I stay outside. I figured he’d lock the door and I’d have to ring the bell to talk to his mother or father.

After a couple of minutes, his mother comes to the door. After speaking to her briefly, and she did have an accent, I got the distinct impression that she didn’t care that her little boy was fighting with a kid half his size or that he was fighting at all. Maybe I wasted my time, maybe not. Maybe she was just pissed and didn’t want to say anything in front of me, which I can understand. If my kid were fighting, I would want someone to break it up and tell me what was going on. Maybe I’m the last parent that feels that way. Then again, maybe I’m the last adult that gives a shit about the future of our country anymore.

Let me tell you this, if I catch that kid fighting again I will have one more talk with him and his mother. Then I’m going to the police about it. This little punk had bully written all over him from his attitude to his stance. Maybe if someone nips it in the bud now he can straighten out before he gets himself into serious trouble later on.

What really gets me about this situation is that there where other adults that saw this happen and live right there and they did nothing. Most of them just turned their backs or watched. That really pisses me off people! We wonder why our kids are becoming degenerates and delinquents, maybe it’s because no one cares anymore. People will bitch about violence and sex in the media being the cause. Maybe it’s apathy toward how the kids behave. Well I care, and I’m not going to sit by idly.

So tell me, do you think I over stepped my boundaries and why?

Posted by Contagion in Rants and Raves at August 26, 2005 01:03 PM | TrackBack

I think you did the right thing. Hell, it could have been YOUR kid he was picking on.

Posted by: caltechgirl at August 26, 2005 01:25 PM

You did good....

I think as a community we have a responsibility for one anothers childre.....not to lay a hand on -em, but to make sure Mom and Dad (even if Mom and Dad are pigs)....know what they're kid is doing.

Wish you were in my town.

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at August 26, 2005 01:35 PM

I think you did the right thing. I was faced with a similar situation once, but didn't bother stopping. I knew generally who the kids were and they were brothers and prone to break out into random fights in public.

We, as adults, have a responsibility to our kids and the kids in our community. Who else will they learn from?

Posted by: Oddybobo at August 26, 2005 01:48 PM

Depends on the age... *grin* I am not stepping into the middle of a teenage fight - younger kids I'd break up. I don't know if I would've pursued it to any of the respective houses, but I think I would at least have called them on it and told them to cut it out.

As usual - it all depends on the situation. You did what you thought you had to do - that's way better than doing nothing and then wishing you had acted.

Posted by: Teresa at August 26, 2005 03:38 PM

I've done this before, although I didn't follow them home I had the "authority figure" voice turned on. That feeling of responsibility didn't start until after I had started working with kids myself though. One of the many fights I got into as a kid was ended by an adult stopping his car and grabbing us both by the scruff of the neck.

So to answer your question, I think you did the right thing, but it doesn't matter what any of us think. You have your own code to follow, and I think your moral, or maybe your ethic was involved here.

Posted by: littlejoe at August 26, 2005 05:47 PM

Let me just clarify, when I say I followed him to his house. I mean I made him show me where he lived. I talked with him the whole way there. Before I would let it go I made him take me to his parent. I don't know if it came across as I stalked him home, but that isn't what happened.

Posted by: Contagion at August 26, 2005 06:33 PM

I would have stepped in also, probably getting my own personal ass kicked in the process. All my son's friends are taller than me now and they're 10. At age 11 or 12, I'm doomed. That said, I can have a drill sergeant voice and if I didn't get the crap kicked out of me, I would have scared the ever living crap out of them.

Posted by: Bou at August 26, 2005 07:55 PM

I've done almost exactly what you did. I don't regret it. I think you did the right thing.

UhOh. Damn -that sounds an awful lot like "I like you". Oops. ;-)

Posted by: Tammi at August 26, 2005 08:44 PM

It was te absolute right thing to do, forty years or more ago. Today it could just as easily get you arrested.

Posted by: Peter at August 27, 2005 09:40 AM

Or shot.

Posted by: littlejoe at August 27, 2005 11:35 AM

Actually nothing I did was in any way a violation of any law. The closest being unlawful restraint, Since I was returning a minor to their guardian it was perfectly legal.

As for being shot. Hell I can get shot by driving down the street anymore.

Posted by: Contagion at August 27, 2005 12:13 PM

That was in response to Peter. My thinking being, that quite a few "kids" have access to guns and no idea the ramifications of shooting someone.

Posted by: littlejoe at August 27, 2005 09:29 PM

Let them fight. If you feel the little guy is getting his ass whipped too long, then you break it up. If the big kid is getting his ass whipped, let it go on a little longer then break it up.

Maybe whatever needed settled, was getting settled. As long as nobody is getting maimed then let it go.

Posted by: Nick Badway at September 30, 2005 04:25 PM